“Road”

We celebrated  that day,
emancipated, while the esteemed
minister exalted, challenging us
to independence in freedom city.
160 years and still counting.

Blocking my path as
I marched toward the
same fortress where your
ancestors called for the Fire
long ago – ‘Come with me’ –
I called to you.
My fingers already wrapped
tightly around your wrist.

A stranger I recognized,
long before I had seen
the book about the soldiers
of Lewisburg and Terre Haute.
The newspaper I’d read
months earlier did smell
of your smooth and dark skin.

Besides,
there were whispers
of the gifts Charlie
had given when
he made his
executive Christmas list.
You smiled brightly that
December morning,
not knowing that I had long
begun the journey
down your road.

The woman cried
for her son,
when the white man
burned in his bed.
And I heard the voices
calling for abolition
while both the enslaved
and the freed cautioned
that it would not be possible.
I went anyway.

Perfumed lips part,
singing the sweet fragrance
of a julie mango.

You
are the thunder
and the lightning –
Warrior, of the Gorilla tribe.
Power. Full. Beautiful
and strong.

You,
are the benny .
Do you remember me?

Anna Lee

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